Deadspin Presents: Our All-MLB Team

Deadspin Presents: Our All-MLB Team

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It’s awards season in Major League Baseball, and one of the newer prizes on the docket is the All-MLB team, which debuted last year, decided by a fan vote and a panel of media members and baseball luminaries. Who should be make this team from the this shortened 60-game season?

Here’s a look at the best of the bunch, position by position.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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C: Salvador Perez, Royals

C: Salvador Perez, Royals

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After missing all of 2019, then contracting COVID-19 before the 2020 season, Perez’s return to form was a truly bright spot in a grim year for the Royals. Even though he played just 37 games, Perez won his third Silver Slugger award, hitting 11 home runs with a .986 OPS, and while his defensive work behind the plate isn’t quite at the elite standard it once was, he’s still one of the top receivers in the game. Fair play if you’d prefer J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, who also was outstanding this year.

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1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves

1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves

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Freeman and Jose Abreu each had a wRC+ figure of 167, with Abreu having the edge in home runs (19 to Freeman’s 13) and Freeman comfortably ahead in the slash-line figures at .341/.462/.640, compared to .317/.370/.617 for the White Sox slugger. Freeman also walked way more and struck out way less, and he’s a better defensive first baseman. Both have strong MVP cases. Freeman, who played all 60 games after recovering from a serious case of coronavirus, gets the nod.

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2B: DJ LeMahieu, Yankees

2B: DJ LeMahieu, Yankees

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The first player in the modern era to win a batting title in each league (2016 Rockies, 2020 Yankees), LeMahieu also led the American League with a 1.011 OPS this season, while continuing to make all the right plays at second base. For a guy whose signing was greeted with a lot of questions about how he’d fit in, the Bronx now clamors for LeMahieu to return this winter as the most important part of the Bombers for the last two years.

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SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

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Tatis is 21 years old, has played 143 games in the major leagues, and already is a top-10 player in the entire sport. As rough as things are in baseball right now, Tatis could be the engaging face of the sport for the next two decades, and that’s great news for anyone who cares about the game as a whole. A really neat thing is that a lot of the same can be said about the White Sox’s Tim Anderson, who’s 27, so not the “next two decades” part, but is everything that MLB should want in a superstar, and also had an incredible season, just a tick below the masterpiece of a campaign Tatis had.

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3B: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland

3B: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland

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In 58 games, Ramirez hit 17 home runs, only six fewer than his total for 129 games in 2019. It wasn’t just an outstanding bounce-back season, Ramirez led the majors in the FanGraphs version of WAR, and just about single-handedly dragged Cleveland’s anemic lineup into the postseason, responsible for 18.1 percent of the team’s runs scored, 19.7 percent of their runs batted in, and 28.8 percent of their home run total.

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7 / 14

LF: Juan Soto, Nationals

LF: Juan Soto, Nationals

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All of that stuff about Fernando Tatis Jr. being 21 and baseball being in great shape with him for years to come? Well, Soto turned 22 in October, and just led the majors in OBP (.490) and slugging (.695), won the National League batting title (.351), and got intentionally walked 12 times in 196 plate appearances, which is ludicrous. The Nationals stunk this year, but it was hardly Soto’s fault, and so long as he’s in Washington, they’ll have someone to build around.

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8 / 14

CF: Mike Trout, Angels

CF: Mike Trout, Angels

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For the first time in… maybe in his entire career, Trout had some competition as the game’s best center fielder, as Ronald Acuña Jr. bested him by six points in wOBA and 16 points in on-base percentage, with better defensive metrics. But Trout still had the edge by three homers, 22 points in slugging percentage, 31 points in batting average, and five points in wRC+. It’s a testament to how good Trout is that “not automatically in the top two for MVP” rates as an off year for him.

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RF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers

RF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers

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Let’s all just take a moment to laugh at the Boston Red Sox for trading Betts. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! What a delight. Betts is incredible. Imagine ever deciding that you’d rather have “financial flexibility.” What a stupid thing that would be.

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10 / 14

DH: Marcell Ozuna, Braves

DH: Marcell Ozuna, Braves

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The National League adopting the designated hitter worked out better for Atlanta than anyone, as they were able to let Ozuna do what he does best, which meant blasting 18 dingers while driving in 56 runs, which was on pace for 151 RBIs over a full season. Ozuna had a slash line of .338/.431/.636 for a 179 wRC+ and was worth 2.5 wins above replacement to the National League East champions while spending a grand total of 162 innings in the field.

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11 / 14

RHP: Shane Bieber, Cleveland

RHP: Shane Bieber, Cleveland

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The major league pitching Triple Crown winner — leading in wins (8), ERA (1.63), and strikeouts (122) — is an easy call as the best in the game this year. Bieber also led MLB in FIP, and the American League in fewest hits allowed per nine innings. While the National League Cy Young race this year is a jumble with several possible right answers, Bieber should coast to the award in the AL. Striking out a league-leading 14.2 batters per nine innings is better than what most closers do. Just a ridiculous year.

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12 / 14

LHP: Dallas Keuchel, White Sox

LHP: Dallas Keuchel, White Sox

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The White Sox, deservedly, got a lot of ink for how exciting their lineup was, led by Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert. But the addition of Keuchel, the 2015 Cy Young winner, was a big part of why Chicago got to the next level in 2020. In 11 starts, Keuchel posted a 1.99 ERA, allowing only two home runs. While his strikeout rate of only six per nine innings isn’t the kind of eye-popping figure we’re now accustomed to from top starters, it’s alright to pitch to contact if nobody’s getting good wood on it.

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13 / 14

RP: Nick Anderson, Rays

RP: Nick Anderson, Rays

Illustration for article titled Deadspin Presents: Our All-MLB Team
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It all blew up on him in October, but Anderson was nigh untouchable in the regular season, posting a 0.49 WHIP with 26 strikeouts, three walks, and only one homer allowed in 16.1 innings. There were many other dominant relievers this season — Liam Hendriks in Oakland, Brad Hand in Cleveland, Devin Williams in Milwaukee, Trevor Rosenthal in Kansas City and then San Diego — but Anderson serving as the linchpin of the bullpen-heavy strategy of the best team in the American League tips it in his favor.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.